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Medicine Science

Testosterone Increasingly Being Used To Fight Aging In Men 201

An anonymous reader writes: In this time of advanced technology, our battle against aging isn't going well. Lifespan has been improved quite a bit through halting numerous diseases and improving nutrition, but medical science is struggling to slow the gradual wear and tear that builds up as we get older. Cutting edge treatment theories are all hellishly complex, so many men are turning to a solution that's been with us for 80 years: testosterone. Clinics are popping up around the U.S. that prescribe no actual medicine, but instead hand out testosterone and supplements. "In 2013, 14,000 kilograms of testosterone were sold in the United States. That might not sound like much, but a typical adult male has just 0.000000035 kilograms of testosterone floating around in his bloodstream. There is a lot of extra T in the hormonal composition of the country—and it only accounts for the legal sales."

John Hoberman, professor and author, calls this new medical model "client-centered libertarian medicine." He says, "Once upon a time, respectable society feared contamination by illegal and disreputable drugs that were consumed by social deviants. Now regulators are concerned about a growing demand for legal drugs that serve socially sanctioned goals such as productivity, physical attractiveness, and sexual viability. The 'threat' posed by such drugs originates in the very system of values that sanctions their use, and it is a paradox that has put regulators in an untenable position."
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Testosterone Increasingly Being Used To Fight Aging In Men

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  • by RogueWarrior65 ( 678876 ) on Wednesday February 04, 2015 @11:25AM (#48979653)

    No, it's low T&A.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    AKA, under-regulated.

  • Really, Slashdot? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Wednesday February 04, 2015 @11:33AM (#48979727) Homepage Journal
    Tunning into an infomercial food suppliment quackery site, are we? This is a new low, even for slashdot. Did Dice put you up to this or are you just giving free advertising to any shit that comes along now?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      According to the comments, Slashdot reaches a new low with every single article they post.

  • Not medicine? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by internerdj ( 1319281 ) on Wednesday February 04, 2015 @11:36AM (#48979767)
    Estrogen given to a patient is medicine, what is different for testosterone? Is he making some sort of Paleo marketing ploy or does he mean that the product isn't going through the medical approval process?
  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Wednesday February 04, 2015 @11:38AM (#48979773) Homepage
    They couldn't mention the downside of taking testerone?

    It decreases fertility, enlarges the prostate, and causes other issues.

    • by Dr J. keeps the nerd ( 1061562 ) on Wednesday February 04, 2015 @11:40AM (#48979805)
      Other side effects include aggression and being banned from sports competitions.
      • Actually, contrary to common believe, low testosterone is associated with aggression and high testosterone with reduced aggression.

    • by thoriumbr ( 1152281 ) on Wednesday February 04, 2015 @11:44AM (#48979843) Homepage
      I don't think aging people on their 70's will care much about fertility...
    • I'm wondering how the hell testosterone is supposed to increase your lifespan. I've only seen evidence that suggests testosterone will decrease your lifespan.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by aliquis ( 678370 )

        Some people argue dying at 75 is good.

        Some people would rather the physically and mentally fit in their 80-100 and then die at 100 rather than ill 80-120 and die at 120.

      • by NostalgiaForInfinity ( 4001831 ) on Wednesday February 04, 2015 @12:18PM (#48980117)

        Low testosterone and high testosterone each correlate both with some desirable and some undesirable factors, and almost nothing can be said about causality.

        Your best bet is to exercise, eat better, and lose weight; that clearly has health benefits and will also naturally raise your testosterone levels.

    • ...as well as an increased risk of heart attack.

      http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/he... [go.com]

      I'll pass, since I already have heart disease in my family history. You can choose otherwise.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by billewood ( 4003791 )
      There is considerable evidence that testosterone actually DECREASES male lifespan, perhaps by as much as 20 years. For example, from a very well controlled study on the lifespans of Korean eunichs: http://www.sciencedirect.com/s... [sciencedirect.com]: "The average lifespan of eunuchs was 70.0 ± 1.76 years, which was 14.4–19.1 years longer than the lifespan of non-castrated men of similar socio-economic status. Our study supports the idea that male sex hormones decrease the lifespan of men." I entirely support havi
    • by gtall ( 79522 )

      T is, to quote a colorful phrase I read from a study on T, is gasoline to a prostate cancer. In fact, one of the treatments is chemical castration under the understanding that for the right people, it will delay the onset of death by that cancer until something else gets you instead. My father took those treatments from sometime in his 70s until he died of old age at 91...his prostrate cancer was held in check and was not the cause of his existence failure.

    • by jafac ( 1449 )

      A lot of older guys are not particularly worried about the fertility bit.

      Prostate enlargement, on the other hand. . .

  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Wednesday February 04, 2015 @11:42AM (#48979821) Homepage
    "client-centered libertarian medicine." is how assholes pronounce the words "snake oil" and It lives on the shelf with things like homeopathic remedies and juice cleansing. Testosterone, multi-inhaler asthma treatments, statin deficiency,and Circadian Dysrhythmia are all part of pharmaceutical corporations nose dive into profit with the concept of fear, forever and faith. Fear the disease, remember that once you have it you must always consume the product to relieve it, and finally never doubt your trust or faith in the product despite overwhelming evidence it may even be detrimental to your health.

    people become old as a part of human life. Testosterone does not radically alter that condition because becoming old is not a problem but a feature of life itself. In the United states as we inch inexorably closer to single payer healthcare its becoming increasingly evident to medical corporations that an alternate revenue stream will need to be secured. As an example, cigarette manufacturers diversified into food and alcohol; they realize relatively little revenue from cancer sticks at all.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I do think this sounds a bit like snake oil, but I also agree that medicine needs to be deregulated, and treated like taxes: you can make your own decisions, but might also want an expert. These people are making their own decisions--so what if it's misguided? What do you care? And as the article states--why not collect data and see what's going on? Why rely on the FDA to make that evaluation? Because the FDA is never wrong?

      The problem is that, for every one of these examples, there's many many more of peop

      • It's none of my business if you want to self medicate with whatever drug you fancy, that's "freedom". An unqualified but charismatic quack taking advantage of desperately ill people for personal gain is not "freedom", it's fraud.

        By definition alternative medicine has either been proved not to work, or not proved to work. Do you know what they call alternative medicine that has been proved to work? Medicine" - Tim Minchin. [youtube.com]
        • by Baki ( 72515 )

          Sometimes there are benefits and risks at the same time. The suppliers seek big profits and will always emphasise the benefits. It is not that black and white, and therefore not so easy to get a fraud judgement when suppliers skew the opinion of the people through large marketing budgets. The profits easily pay for a lot of influence.

          Sometimes politics has to regulate, and especially neutralize the unwanted pressure from commerce. There are various means, such as diminishing the lobby influence over politic

  • Lift (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kilfarsnar ( 561956 ) on Wednesday February 04, 2015 @11:45AM (#48979853)

    If you lift weights you can boost your testosterone naturally. And you'll get other benefits like more strength, increased bone density and better balance. You don't have to be Jack LaLanne (though he provided an excellent example). You just need to put your body under stress for 30 - 60 minutes 2 - 3 times a week; in a way that is safe for one's age, obviously.

    Regular exercise and a healthy diet can go a long way towards staying healthy and living longer. But we knew that already and still many of us do not do it. There's still the testosterone shot, I guess...

    • I agree, but a man will benefit from those activities even more if his T starts out being near, or perhaps even slighly above, normal levels, with "normal" being defined not as the average today, which we know is much lower than in the past for various reasons, but the average from 30 years ago. I am not sure this is a bad thing as long as there is competent medical supervision. It's not for everyone; as others have pointed out, it can worsen heart problems, hypertension, aggression, etc. especially if do
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Unfortunately, most people do not understand what it means to have low Testosterone. I suffer from low T and am familiar with this subject:

      1. Having low T means you have an organ somewhere not working. Primary: Testes. Secondary: Pituitary. Tertiary: Stress.
      2. Herbal supplements and working out do not raise Testosterone if you suffer from Primary/Secondary failure, because you cannot produce adequate amounts in the first place.
      3. Testosterone is not steroids. It is bio identical hormone. As someone pointed

    • by delt0r ( 999393 )
      Funny thing is there is very little evidence that testosterone helps at all in normal men.
  • by ItsJustAPseudonym ( 1259172 ) on Wednesday February 04, 2015 @11:45AM (#48979857)

    ...it is a paradox that has put regulators in an untenable position.

    Maybe not entirely. Here's a recent article about fake supplements: http://www.washingtonpost.com/... [washingtonpost.com]

    Regulation, apparently, has its part to play.

    • Yeah, I'm having trouble seeing what the paradox is. If a doctor prescribes it, then great! If it fits the requirements for OTC, then great! Standard procedure, no paradox except in that guy's mind.
  • by John Newman ( 444192 ) on Wednesday February 04, 2015 @12:02PM (#48979997)

    Testosterone supplementation in men with low T levels appears to have the unfortunate side effect of death. [jamanetwork.com]

    There is a growing literature on the potential dangers of testosterone supplementation. Not enough yet to say it's as clearly a bad idea as female HRT, but for sure it isn't something men should run out and do without a careful and personalized discussion with a knowledgeable (actual) doctor.

    In general I think it's safe to say that the "take extra of the hormones that go down with age in some people" theory of fighting aging is pretty thoroughly discredited by now. Thyroid hormone, growth hormone, testosterone, estrogen, etc. - the science is clear this is not how you fight aging. In general, more likely to hasten death than prevent it.

    • This is well understood, and means that testosterone therapy is contraindicated in people with, predisposed to, or having a family history of these problems. That would include me. It also means it may be risky for others. I am considering it anyway, for the simple reason that I'd rather be maximally healthy for 20 more years than to live 40 in my current condition, which is influenced by low testosterone (it is not absurdly low, just a little, but still affects my life in countless ways, nearly all of t
    • by judoguy ( 534886 )

      Not enough yet to say it's as clearly a bad idea as female HRT, but for sure it isn't something men should run out and do without a careful and personalized discussion with a knowledgeable (actual) doctor.

      Even endocrinologists, unfortunately, are not immune to cant and insurance industry pressure.

      Too many of them just run insurance driven diabetes shops and ignore actual science in adherence to "conventional practice", i.e., not what works, but what is defensible in court.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 04, 2015 @12:02PM (#48979999)

    As a physician, I have seen the growth of the testosterone industry over the past decade. This has been pushed by direct to consumer advertising by big Pharma, which fails to adequately inform the target population of the significant risks. Co-opted endocrinologists have been paid to create a new syndrome called "andropause" which can be treated with testosterone. We learned the risks of estrogen in post menopausal women only after many years, and we now are set to repeat the same story with cardiovascular disease, prostate problems, and stroke in men. Why can't we just age gracefully?

    http://www.drugwatch.com/testosterone/heart-attack/
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3901445/

    • Why can't we just age gracefully?

      Why would we want that? Natural != Good I happen to like vaccinations, antibiotics, pain killers and other marvels of modern medicine, why don't you?

    • by yabos ( 719499 )
      Most old people can barely get out of a chair. I don't want to be like that if it can be avoided. That's why I lift and have more than average muscle mass. The more you have when you're younger, the more you will have when you're older. Higher test will just allow you to keep more of it later in life.
  • by NostalgiaForInfinity ( 4001831 ) on Wednesday February 04, 2015 @12:12PM (#48980059)

    Low testosterone, aging, and loss of lean muscle mass, fat gain, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, low libido all correlate. Because testosterone supplementation improves some of these problems somewhat, people have concluded that they might be caused by low testosterone. But they are clearly caused simply by bad diet and lack of exercise, and you're likely going to improve your overall health much more by exercising and eating better. Exercise and improvements in diet will also naturally increase your testosterone levels.

    Once you start taking testosterone, you usually end up dependent on it for life. That means not just applying it every day, it means more frequent checkups, monitoring for side effects, and pretty tough questions when you start getting prostate problems and cancer (which you will, sooner or later).

    Trying to fix what are just bad lifestyle choices in most men (lack of exercise, too much sitting, bad diet) with medicine (statins, testosterone, etc.) also puts an enormous strain on our medical system and is one of the reasons the US spends so much money on health care: the cost of testosterone replacement is usually several hundred dollars a month for the drug alone, plus even more money for the extra monitoring and tests. Insurance may currently cover that, but don't bet on it in the future. And even if it covers it, you still end up with co-pays, frequent trips to the doctor, and potential complications and additional drugs to deal with side effects.

    (Of course, some small percentage of men really do have abnormally low or absent testosterone due to actual disease, and for those, supplementation makes sense.)

    • Testosterone injections, rather than Androgel is significantly cheaper. $25 for 10mL(200mg/mL) without insurance.
      For me, that's $25 for a 3 month supply. (supposed to chuck the rest of the vial at that point, even though it's still not empty)
      The largest expense is the lab work, but paying cash out of pocket comes out to $350 / year;

      So, the cost for HRT with no insurance, is $450 annually.
      That's less than $25/month.

      And insurance will cover my visit to the Endocrinologist, but they won't cover the actual Rx

    • Once you start taking testosterone, you usually end up dependent on it for life. That means not just applying it every day, it means more frequent checkups, monitoring for side effects ...

      So I guess now we can now understand why the medical community has taken to it in such a big way. It is like there perfect drug, from a pusher standpoint.

      But, I guess, it can lead to a cyclical relationship on its own, without the supplement. Theoretically, at least, the boost of testosterone could cause the taker to get off their ass and start with the health stuff; And start producing their own.

  • In most males with low T is T being regulated down, can the equipment just not produce enough T. In other words is my house cold because the thermostat is set too low, or is the furnace too small?
  • This kind of thing, in a small but significant way, starts to tip the social balance further in favor of males who are wealthy enough/risk tolerant enough to take a chance on this kind of thing to dominate against younger males.

    On the side of the wealthier males, it could tend to change certain workplace dynamics. Not sure what exactly that would do, but without economic growth, it could lead to slightly more workplace conflict.

    On the risk tolerant side, I see a risk of widespread increases in antisocial

    • I don't see it. The rich successful people already have decent T, T supplements are for the ones too pathetic to accomplish anything to begin with. It is not like .001 gram of T will cost you thousands of dollars. And since, at least, natural T leads to reduced violence and crime, I see no reason to believe that unnatural T would do anything but make people even less violent.
      • Where is the evidence that natural testosterone leads to reduced violence and crime? Males in the teens to twenties range make up basically all violent crime. Also, a cursory glance seems to indicate that eunuchs don't commit crimes very often despite the anger that castration would cause.
        • Well the crime is a personal extrapolation from the more recent studies that have found that individuals with higher T were statistically correlated with being more generous, having more friends, and being more friendly.
          In fact almost all violent crimes are committed by Black males who in fact have even higher T statistically than males in general. But males and black males specifically do not commit crimes because of high T, we know this because of a series of studies that link it to higher cooperation,
  • Somebody is selling snake oil again. Testosterone may have subjectively beneficial short-term effects (virility, muscle tone, etc), but all current evidence is that it shortens your lifespan.

    Studies of eunuchs have shown that they live substantially longer than non-castrated men [cell.com]. That's just one link; anyone with a bit of Google-fu will find others. For example, higher levels of testosterone are thought to be a reason that men have shorter lifespans than women.

  • True story, well if you can believe my dentist, but she seems very rational person. She said her brother had started selling a wrist watch that was used to combat ADD, basically is would vibrate and give an "atta boy" message when the child got off track, it was remote controlled by the teacher FYI. It was about as intrusive as a digimon watch. So he started selling them, but eventually got a cease and desist letter from the FDA for selling an untested medical device. When he later spoke with an FDA ins
    • Yes seperating the approval and research process from the manufacturing process would to a great deal to decrease medical costs, but could have a negative impact on research if it wasn't done carefully.
      • Maybe, maybe not. First remember how much basic research is done by universities, further much the same thing has been said about open source software. Remember I am not proposing the elimination of for profit drug research companies, but rather simply opening the door for more open source type avenues also.
  • "0.000000035 kilograms"

    W.T.F.

    That's almost as stupid as using imperial units.

    0.000000000000035 gigagrams

    There. I fixed it for you.

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